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The top five in-demand IT certifications for 2013

Here's a look at what the experts say will be the most in-demand tech certifications for 2013.

The folks at opensesame offer their take on what IT certs will be most in demand in 2013.

Now is a great time to set ambitious career goals for yourself in the new year and achieving a professional certification is an excellent means to improve your skill set, get more responsibility on the job and earn more money. The biggest challenge you face today is figuring out which technical certifications will be in demand in 2013. But don't worry - we've done the hard work, and researched which certification you should pursue to achieve new career heights in the new year.

Here's the top five in-demand IT certifications for 2013, selected based on expert opinion, research, and Google trends.

1, MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)

Microsoft unveiled the latest crop of new certifications in 2012, driving a large spike in popularity. Earning a 2012 MCSA certification in 2013 will give you a foundation in basic information technology know-how and prepare you for higher Microsoft certifications. We recommend starting with one of these popular certifications:

2. MCSE: Private Cloud

If you've stepped in an IT department over the last year, you know "cloud" is the buzzword on the tip of everyone's tongue. This Microsoft expert certification has been reinvented for the cloud - after only 8 months, the Private Cloud certification is already as popular as the rival CompTIA and CCP cloud certifications. The popularity of cloud computing has increased demand for IT professionals who can build private cloud computing solutions using common technology platforms. Microsoft is also discontinuing the popular MCITP program in 2014 and directing individuals to become MCSE's. This makes 2013 the perfect year to obtain the MCSE certification and get jump start on those who convert in 2014.

3. PMP (Project Management Professional)

Project management is a classic, foundational skill that evolves with new technologies and will never become outdated. A strong understanding of project management enables IT professionals to plan, budget, manage time, and reduce costs. With many companies reducing staff and seeking more efficient operations, project management skills will make IT professionals more effective and add another dimension to their resumes.

4. VCP (VMware Certified Professional)

Virtualization, or the creation of virtual computing platforms, is used to improve scalability and reduce infrastructure costs in hardware-intensive computing environments. The virtualization industry is young and full of potential, and VMware is the industry leader in both virtualization software and virtual certifications. They are reaching the height of their popularity and their certifications are more valuable than ever.

5. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Organizations must protect their systems, data, and networks, and information security architects are in high demand. With the shift towards storing data in cloud systems, security experts have a vital role to play in ensuring these systems remain as secure as servers maintained in-house. Among the variety of security certifications available, the CISSP certification is highly respected, extremely popular and generally receives the highest average salary. Here is a chart comparing the CISSP to its competitors based on popularity:

Other hot certifications for 2013?

Please feel free to comment about certifications that could make this list or link other IT blogs.

80 comments
mayazoe
mayazoe

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techieindeed
techieindeed

IT repair service companies are on the rise these days. With more dependence on computers, the need of people to deal with the hassles of these devices has also increased. This is why many students are opting for these professional certifications.

sonali5
sonali5

Hi all,I am Masters of Business Administration (MBA)  2011 and i want to change my field. I want to make a career in IT sector.I request you all to please advise me to go for which IT certification which is in demand,  and in which i can make my career as well, can be completed within few months with reasonable price. Waiting for your response.

gbrad71
gbrad71

One of the biggest things you can do to help yourself if you want to make it in a IT career field is learning scripting, be it or powershell or bash etc. Once you get your foot in the door you will find knowing scripting is going to help you immensely. Turns a huge job into a easy task if you know what you are doing. Also learn up on Active Directory and Exchange server, if you get a job as a level one tech they are not going to let you near the exchange server or trust you enough to use powershell but believe me show them you know how to do these things and do them well and you will not have to worry about a tier one position unlocking passwords all day on the phone. Also as I write this XP is losing it support in April there is going to be a huge push to get computers compliant with Windows 7 think about looking into Microsoft 70-680, 70-685 and 70-686, configuration, deployment and administration of Windows 7 exams. These exams will be retired this year but from my experience most companies do not want to jump on board with Windows 8 right now. Get these certs and you have some real security when it comes to getting that IT job you been looking for. 

rapenchukd
rapenchukd

Hmm, no RedHat certs on here? RedHat pays consultants starting at $90k for RHCSA, and that is significantly below what other private and government jobs average for a RedHat engineer... I know this is an old post, but how was this data collected? For example, in DC beginner Linux Admins with RHCE generally start at $70k, while I see senior Administrator get offered upwards of $140K with just RHCE, and this is just around average for jobs nation wide, and actual engineers can make significantly more.

yahyamuneeri
yahyamuneeri

I am studing Telecom. Engineering (2nd year) so i am thinking to do some certifications related to my relative field specially in networking so please guide me what certifications will be best for me and what is its scope in upcomming years. I am very confused so please guide me. Thanks. waitinig for your responce

ThierryJoel
ThierryJoel

:How will you classify cisco certifications like the CCNA among top IT Certifications.

SudhanshuAgarwal
SudhanshuAgarwal

Dear All, I am Masters of Computer Application(MCA) 2011 passout and UNEMPLOYED. I request you all to please advise me to go for which IT certification which is in demand and in which i can make my career as well, can be completed within few months with reasonable price. Waiting for your response... or mail me at sudhanshu_agarwal10@yahoo.com

slater
slater

Note how these certifications are now quickly aligning with the Cloud. Some think the Cloud is "cool." With organizations moving to the Cloud, they are eyeing big cost savings in staff size reductions and being freed up from costs associated with Data Center equipment refreshes and software refreshes. Translation: Massive layoffs ahead for those who refuse to quickly adapt and revamp their skills. Note: Your employer isn't using computers that are five to six years old, so why do they want IT staff without current certifications. The best advice I could give young people starting out is: 1) Embrace the Cloud. 2) Learn everything you can about cybersecurity 3) Learn everything you can about good project management and leadership skills By the way, June 1993 will be the 20th anniversary of my first MCP certification. Best regards, Bill William Favre Slater, III MBA, M.S., PMP, CISSP, SSCP, CISA, ISO 27002, ISO 20000, ITIL v3, IP v6, Cloud Computing Foundation Project Manager / Program Manager slater@billslater.com Chicago, IL United States of America Proverbs 22:1 http://billslater.com/career http://billslater.com/certifications http://billslater.com/interview http://billslater.com/writing

ccietraininglab
ccietraininglab

Of course,certifications are always second to experience. Whichever certification you choose to pursue would be useless if it's not backed up with hands on knowledge. In my opinion Cisco has always been one of the front liners in IT and their network certifications are proven career builders. If you have background in networking I would suggest you set your eyes on the CCNAs then make your way up the ladder and proceed with CCNP and then CCIE.

kalokohan6
kalokohan6

I think you need a little bit of everything to become a successful IT Professional. Went to college got my degree in IT with no experience, started in Help Desk, gained some valuable experience, moved up the chain and EARNED certs on the way up. Now I have my Bachelor's in IT, CISSP, MCSE Sec + with 10 years experience. Lastly the most critical thing to make yourself unique upon common IT folk is to learn to be business saavy and not be a douche bag to the people you serve and not like you're Mr. Know it all. So many times ive met smart people by a$$holes to people because they think they know more than them. So what. Education, Certs Experience will get you far but add a bit of personality and humbleness will get you farther with it. I can teach anyone what i do given time, but i can never change their attitude. Overall be a well rounded experienced, educated, certified PROFESSIONAL. Now I own firm and I am also working for a company as a Sr. consultant at the same time, loving my career of helping people and organizations.

Edsaid
Edsaid

Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP/Perl/Python Say what you want. This is the future of IT, and so very few people are talking about this. Why is that?

meayonn1990
meayonn1990

Would it be a good idea to get a Ceh certification

sageauk
sageauk

I am Planning to Take MCSA and CCNA this year. Was also Planning to take Oracle DB Admin but this is definitely for later

stephan.chan
stephan.chan

At the end of the fifth section, the last sentence is: "Here is a chart comparing the CISSP to its competitors based on popularity:" The link to the referenced chart is missing. Could you update this article with a link to the referenced chart, and send me an email with that link? This will alert me that someone has read my comment/request. Thank you.

MrBillCarroll
MrBillCarroll

The Certified Data Management Professional, managed by DAMA, has high value for a future where we capture data at almost logarithmic rates. Technology certifications are important, but bad data management results in bad information no matter how good the software.

usman.khan21
usman.khan21

Kindly tell me about future of Development Certifications like MCPD (ASP.Net Web Development) because all above mentioned certifications are non development.

jnight99
jnight99

I've been an "IT Guru" since the days of the Apple II. Now it's Exchange, AD, Cisco ASAs, iSCSI, etc. I can tell you that certs are OK to get in a company door. But if you want to be the company irreplaceable goto IT guy when hell breaks loose, trial by fire experience is 10x more important.than certs. But it also means learning the things cert prep doesn't teach you. Obscure things like low level Ethernet (SYN/ACK anyone?), SPAM methodologies, Spanning Tree, fibre channel, etc. Its those things that are the foundation for guruism (is that a word? lol).

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

Can anyone comment on the course offered in the link for the VCP? It seems very inexpensive as course ware goes. If anyone has used it was it actually valuable in passing the exam? Thanks.

Golfloon
Golfloon

We used to call the MCSE "Must Call Someone Experienced". But I have found out over the years that certs do actually have their place. You refer to paper tigers. We call them graduates they have the piece of paper, have put a lot of effort into getting it and are keen to learn the skills to do the job. If properly mentored they usually turn into fairly decent engineers. It shows enthusiasm. The best guys I have employed over the years have bucket loads of experience and keep their certs up to date, I am not sure why they need to, but those that do seem to have an edge. Maybe its because they are passionate about what they do and really want to understand it in more depth. It shows commitment. As for the role of a cert in the recruitment process what it does is say that at a point in time the candidate managed to have a certain level of knowledge on a particular subject. If that knowledge is required for the role it puts a tick in a box, nothing more, and it makes the interview easier as all the interviewer needs to do is validate whether they can apply the knowledge (what you refer to as experience). So if I am a potential employer looking at a pile of 50 CV's for a shortlist of 10 interviewees and 10 have enthusiasm, commitment, knowledge and experience and the others only have the latter who will make my shortlist?

shodg001
shodg001

I found certs to be a good way to gain an overview of certain subjects. I have quite a bit of support and lower sys/network admin experience and would like to move up at some point. Certs help me see the bigger picture and complement my experience. I found them useful for rounding myself out professionally. I definitely agree that experience is necessary and should be the ultimate goal. Studying for a cert can help you gain more in depth knowledge of a subject, which allows you to contribute more to discussions and meetings. This can help lead to more experience if your boss thinks you can handle it, such as setting a professional objective to achieve in the next year.

mmyers
mmyers

Smoove333, the best way to prepare for these exams is to pay attention to what is going on around you each and every day. You should be learning from each and every person that you come into contact with. You either learn how to do things, or how not to. I am living proof of that. I am a self taught computer geek who went on to get a CISSP, a CHP, a CHSS, a certificate as an Certified Health Informatics Technician, a HITPro certification as an Clinician / Practitioner consultant, and HITPro certification as an Technical/Software Support Staff. Started at the bottom, and am proud to say that I am now a Chief Security Officer and Senior Project Manager. Just keep studying and reading. Believe it or not, but my best source of study guide for the CISSP exam was the CISSP for dummies book.

bunmi
bunmi

Certifications are good but coupled with experience are great. Totally agreed that IT profession needs continuous learning to keep up.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Wonder who they are defining as "experts". This isn't much more than guess work, the same guess work done by these analysts who can't get half of their predictions right.

Arctic.Moet
Arctic.Moet

...in that I ended up living in a remote location in the far North, where experience is everything. Almost every single IT-related job you see up here has, under required skills, usually a cert or two listed and always "...or equivalent experience." I wish I had more certs, but to be honest it's more for bragging rights and to say I have them (and to validate myself to my family, to whom I am "an IT person", I don't have a real job like they do), I landed an incredible job based on my experience, and I wish more employers would consider that approach (or not look down on those who don't have the fancy tickets). I think the main thing that kept me from having tickets is money. Some of those things are just too damn expensive.

Knighthawk5193
Knighthawk5193

The RedHat Enterprise Linux Certified Enginneer cert?....or the RedHat Enterprise Linux Systems Administrator cert? I'm pursuing the latter and I feel that it can make a change in my earning potential, as a lot of companies are "jumping ship" when it comes to Wndows. I would have though one of the would have been included on this list?.. Also I noticed there wereno Cisco certs at all? Is this a trending shift away from Cisco products? or can it be that Linux and Cisco are so exclusive and "different" that they don't merit a mention at all?....just curious is all...

rcmodeler724
rcmodeler724

I learned most of the IT knowledge from 20 years in the Air Force and then more after retirement. I held a very good job with a better than average salary up until I was laid off in 2009 due to "lack of work", i.e. you are the highest paid and we want to cut our costs! Anyway, in the process of applying for jobs, I come across one that said "if you don't have certifications A-B-C. don't apply, I'm not interested". I responded anyway since I did have an MCP and a few other job related certs and actually put in there, "if all you are looking for is certifications and to hire "paper tigers", then go ahead. If you want a person with real job experience and knowledge, then you want to hire me! Guess I insulted him because I never heard back. Oh Well, I really didn't want to work for such an arrogant person anyway.

sanwar
sanwar

I wouldn't classify PMP as an IT certification. PMP is a whole diferent skillset compared to MCSE, CISSP, CCNA and so on. I am good at what I do and this is best I do. I can't imagine waking up one day and decide to become a PMP all of a sudden. That is not going to happen.

hoplite_q3
hoplite_q3

I don't see any certification from CISCO or Red hat. that's weird.

InstructorJWN
InstructorJWN

Certifications cannot and will never substitute for real experience. They are a result of the glut of "wannabe" computer people flooding IT in the early to mid 90's. This cascading failure of resume padding and outright misrepresenting resulted in HR getting involved in the hiring process, with certifications being the new panacea to select candidates. Of the people I know who have certs (and lots of them) most cannot find their way out of the parking lot let alone fix anything or code. Certs are merely a tool used by non technical people to screen technical people....nothing less nothing more. These things would have "withered on the vine" except people who took and passed the test use them as a "club" or "shared suffering" type of thing when selecting new people, Like minds think alike...... Certs are Novell's legacy.....I knew this was a problem since the CNE came out (in 1993?)

hug.login
hug.login

I'm already way over the upper ranges those certificates would bring me. So what should I do now? BTW: PMP certification might be a good entry for project managers but what really counts are the years after the certification.

Edsaid
Edsaid

Admittedly I am not in IT, but I do run the IT infrastructure for my financial services practice. I would think that one of the biggest issues facing IT professionals today is that everyone is in agreement of the importance IT plays in their business, but no one wants to pay the IT personnel for their expertise. More qualifications in IT (unlike in other professions) does very little to guarantee better income and job prospects because the band of companies willing to pay you for your education is very narrow. Then there are thousands of IT pro's out there that may not have the qualifications, but have built the experience (sometimes by very expensive lessons) to do everything you can do. The crux is the IT Pro is being underpaid because their being pooled with others who deserve to earn less for doing the same job. Corps seem to only be interested in getting the job done, at the cheapest strike rate

CListo
CListo

These other important certs? CISA CRISC CISM CEH

abhishekraw1729
abhishekraw1729

I Want to do.. Redhat Linux Certifications. Am Confuse...

mihaelb
mihaelb

Although certs are good to show that your organization has a fancy IT department to those who do not understand, when it comes to actual use for a person in our company (we are I.T. consultants), there is absolutely no substitute for experience. Same goes for other companies that ask us to staff their I.T. departments: we never go for candidates with no or little experience, no matter what certifications or even I.T.-related degrees they have. You want to get into I.T.? Take some basic courses, and start at the bottom. Work for a call center support place, even. Then work your way up from there. There just is no substitute for real experience in the real world, and anyone who knows anything related to this will agree. HR people who know nothing may let you through to get an interview (because many of them know squat about I.T.), but once you get through to a person who knows, you will be filtered out after your interview. Then again, you may get lucky and go from an HR person who doesn't know to a manager who has no clue either...how you will manage to actually do your job, though, is a different story, as textbooks and classes will not cover even 5% of the day-to-day issues (let alone more advanced issues) that come up in companies.

vbmade2000
vbmade2000

Recently Rackspace launched Openstack certification. Where does this certification stand ? Is it advisable to earn this certificate ?

lkarnis
lkarnis

Is this article just advertising to sell online exam prep content? If you click the VCP Certification Preparation link, it takes you to Opensesame.com where you can learn how to pass the VCP-410 exam for just $80! VCP-410 was replaced with VCP-510 and then VCP-DV exams as VMware moved from vSphere 4 to vSphere 5 about 16 months ago. Maybe TechRepublic should vet its guest columnists a little more closely.

barth_bernie_a
barth_bernie_a

I would put PMP above the rest if you want to move forward in your career. Anyone can be a techie, but delivering projects on time within budget that have measurable results means more to your corporation. The salary range listed here is low for PMP. PMPs with a 4 year degree typically earn 100k+

phudson38
phudson38

If you are planning on working for the government, don't waste your time on any certs. Get a college degree. That will make you more money.(MA = GS-9, PHD = GS-11 starting)

CD757
CD757

I love how all these websites are touting the PMP certification as a hot certification to obtain for IT right now. You cannot just wake up one day and say "I want to be PMP certified in the next 6 months" there are strict requirements you have to meet in order to even sit for the test. If you have a bachelor's degree, you still need to have 3 years of project management experience with 4,500 hours of qualifying activity and 35 hours of PDUs. If this is an activity you are not involved in currently, it takes quite a bit of commitment from your organization to get you qualified. The best site I found for the path to certification is the following; http://www.squidoo.com/PMP-Certification-Exam#module21967062 I will say it might be worth obtaining the CompTIA Project+ certification before looking to go this route. The test (currently) does not expire, there are no requirements to test, and it will show your employer you are serious about the PMP path. When I did the test, I think the all study material and the test came in under $400.00. Just my two cents...

smoove333
smoove333

Any advice on how best to prepare for these exams? I don't feel like spending a outrageous money on courses.. LOL

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

that employers will be demanding, the certs we will be demanding, or the certs this particular training company would like to be in demand? What sort of moron would accept the advice of a salesman on what to buy? This site is going to the dogs.

GSG
GSG

I just got my ITIL Foundation certification last week as the company I'll be transitioning to sometime in the next year is into the ITIL way of doing things. Until I get my actual certificate, which will allow me to take the required accredited classes for my ITIL OSA exam, I thought I'd do the CPHIT (Certfied Professional in Health Care IT). Certs are great, but I think you have to have the experience to back them up. I got my MCP back in 2000, mostly because I'd transitioned to IT just 18 months before, and had been studying just to gather information to help me to better perform my job. A co-worker who really helped me with the transition suggested that I go ahead and study specifically for the MCP. By that time, I had just enough experience that the MCP and my experience complemented each other nicely.

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